By Rory Nakpil, Markyn Kho, Sean Sy, Nef Lobitana, Cody Florido, Aljohn Gonzales, Benjo Kho, Janelle Uy (Classes 2019-2023)
Palarong Medisina 2018: Siklab, organized by the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges-Student Network (APMC Student Network) in partnership with various medical schools – including our very own UP College of Medicine, is the biggest inter-medical school sports competition in Metro Manila. The competition was held over two weekends (February 25 and March 4) and in multiple venues: Adventist University of the Philippines in Silang, Cavite, and De La Salle University in Canlubang, Laguna, Winner Court in Dasmarinas, Cavite, and Santa Rosa Sports Complex in Dasmarinas Cavite. Our homegrown talents here in UPCM prepared relentlessly for the competition, jamming additional training sessions and tune-up games into their already busy medical student schedules.
The UPCM Volleyball Team, the UP Aces competed separately in men’s and women’s divisions for Palarong Medisina, but trained together at least twice a week, and played tune-up games against several other medical school’s volleyball teams in preparation for the competition. Team captain JP Ladera (Class 2020) stated that this year, the team has been focusing on “rebuilding” itself. Many of the team’s brightest stars from the previous Palarong Medisina competitions graduated last year, having left their positions empty and the team with a new dynamic to figure out and shape as they go along.
Their focus this year was going “back to basics” with simple and straightforward plays, and moving through the competition one point and one game at a time. In general, the team was excited to play in the competition and get the chance to meet their old rivals on the court again. Co-captain Henzor Dauigoy (Class 2021), dubbed Palarong Med veteran Kirby Plando (Class 2020), and former Lady Maroon Kathy Bersola (Class 2022) as the ones to watch for this competition and overall, they were looking forward to being able to enjoying playing in an official competitive arena, and have fun playing the sport they love.
During the actual competition we saw amazing performances from clerk Benjo Sosa, LU2 Katrina Sun working as their respective team’s scoring arms. The excellent performances of both team’s setters, clerk Dudi De Juras and intern Sam Sia were at the heart of their teams’ receives and play setups. The men’s team had the misfortune of facing the competitions “team to beat” for their very first game, but didn’t go down without a fight, winning the first set and only narrowly losing the other two. They went on to fight against MMC and OLFU in their bracket and garnered a score of 1 win and 1 loss, thus advancing to the quarterfinals. However, their luck fell short as they were dropped off the championship ladder with a loss to La Salle in the Quarterfinals. The women’s team on the other hand, had a better run, having won all their matches in their bracket by defeating FEU and ASMPH on the first day. They moved on to the semis, where they faltered in their battle against UE, and ended up facing and eventually winning against OLFU in the battle for third place.
Our women’s volleyball team placed third overall in the competition, and had former Lady Maroon Kathy Bersola (Class 2022), and the ever-reliable setter of the team, Sam Sia (Class 2018) as a part of the Mythical Six or Most Valuable Players of the competition. Both teams had their off-moments during crucial games during the competition, but did not do the college any less proud for their valiant efforts and truly stellar display of skills. If their lows were low, their highs were definitely higher. Both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams showed their relentlessness and talent in being able to receive the most difficult of attacks, and deliver the fiercest of offensive blows. Every game was lively, every win well-deserved, and every loss was still a hard-fought battle until the end. We thank and congratulate both teams on a job well-done, especially the women’s team, led by team captain Zora Dela Peña (Class 2021) for the podium finish and two members in the mythical six. For a team that has been trying to rebuild and restructure themselves following heavy losses from previous years, they did a heck of a job.
Football Club Medisina (FCM) represented the UP College of Medicine this year in Palarong Medisina for football. During Himedsikan and Bakbakan, the team normally plays futsal rather than football due to the lack of access to a nearby field for them to use, but come Palarong Med, they hit the turf for UPCM. In preparation, the men’s and women’s teams trained both jointly and separately with more frequent practices and tune-up games both indoors and outdoors, and both inside and outside UPM. They also had free play in shared practice field spaces to make sure that the team gets to “experience the field” despite the lack of an ideal space within the college. The women’s team “lost most of their core” from their previous Palarong Med competitions and has been struggling to fill the gaps throughout the year. Still, they remain positive and continue to train, play, and strategize based on their new chemistry as a team – albeit their training time is limited due to everyone’s busy schedules. Their unfortunate Palarong Med tradition is that they are never complete until the competition itself. The men’s team, always with a strong presence and good attendance, focused on a strong defense, from which they intended to build their offense on.
Julian Buban (Class 2021) of the men’s team said that this year he feels like the team is working with a “more organized philosophy” in that there was more consistent coaching and tactical planning. Buban was consistently chosen as the one to watch by his teammates, often the winner of the “Player of the Game” titles from their futsal games in Himedsikan and Bakbakan. Another player cited by captain Leland Lukban (Class 2018) was intern and veteran goalkeeper Jon Tiosin (Class 2018). Unfortunately, Tiosin was injured in a Bakbakan game on February 22, 2018 and was not able to play for his last Palarong Med as a medical student. Both the men’s and women’s teams received a lot of support from their alumni this year, often having offered to play against them in scrimmages and having coached them during practices and games. Their team motto is “to each other, for each other”, and it showed in the way the team, even its graduated members, always have a strong, supportive presence during their games. Their presence was not missed at Palarong Med, with cardiology fellow Justin Regalado attending to help coach the team, Jon Tiosin shouting from the sidelines, and of course, their team on full support for each game.
The men’s team faced OLFU for their first game, losing a close fight with a score of 3-2, followed by two exciting matches that ended in draws against FEU and then UST. In the match against FEU, team captain Leland Lukban (Class 2018) was injured and moved off the field, officially ending his Palarong Med career and stint as captain. He passed the mantle to John De Castro (Class 2019) when he was sidelined during the game. The boys were poised to play against PLM for their last game, but unfortunately, their opponents had incurred too many injuries earlier in the competition and were not able to make the number of players required to play (7). They won their last game by default, but were not able to make it to the semifinals this year. The women’s team, without any substitutes, played three games on their first day, losing to UERM in the first with a score of 0-1, drawing against DLS-HSI with a score of 1-1, and winning against FEU with a score of 1-0. On the second day, they faced UST in the semifinals, winning the game 1-0, and had a rematch against UERM in the finals, where they lost 0-1. Seiko Hashimoto (Class 2020) missed her last Palarong Med due to an injury during training two weeks before the competition, and returned to training this year just two weeks before the competition. She performed excellently, scoring the equalizing goal against DLS-HSI in the last three minutes of the game, and the game-winning goal against UST with a beautiful fake. She was a precise and aggressive attack force throughout all the women’s team’s games. Notable were the performances of Bea Constantino (Class 2020) with her relentless offensive and defensive efforts and ability to push the ball up the field, Anna Serrano (Class 2022), having scored the winning goal against FEU early in the game, and the ever reliable defensive and midfield powerhouses Bits Pascual (team captain, Class 2019) and rookie Angelica Mea (Class 2022). Overall, the women’s football team had a glorious podium finish as the first runners-up. Both teams brought pride and joy to the college with their stellar performances at this year’s Palarong Medisina 2018.
This year’s UP College of Medicine basketball team was bursting with young, promising players. In preparation, they had frequent practices and regularly played tune-up games with other medical school basketball teams. Palarong Medisina veteran Darren Khow (Class 2020) said their team’s style is: “fast ‘cause we’re young.” Kevin Lucas (Class 2018), one of the team’s cornerstones of offense and on his last year for Palarong Med, said that this year’s men’s basketball team is more active, athletic, and plays with more finesse and intelligence than in the previous years. Young bloods JC Tesorero (Class 2022), Martin Dizon (Class 2022), and Nathan Gan (Class 2022) were mentioned as players to keep an eye on for this competition. However, captain Sterling Tiu (Class 2020) would disagree, stating that all his teammates are “star players” in their own right. This year, the team was focused on keeping up their fast-paced play and “pushing the ball” with clean and organized movements in the half-court. The women’s team, known to be savvy in their ball-handling skills, had always suffered disadvantage from their relatively shorter stature in their previous competitions. With the addition of “the big woman” Kathy Bersola (Class 2022), they’re got “the opportunity to build on what they’re already good at”, says Bea Constantino (Class 2020)
During the actual competition, we saw the men’s team never miss a beat, keeping up their quick pace. Due to logistical issues with delays and defaults on the first day, the men’s team ended up playing much later than they thought they would, and played all three of their games for the day consecutively against ASMPH, UPHJ and MMC. The most intense game of the first day was against ASMPH with their team having accrued a plethora of injuries halfway through. Most of their players were on the bench with a tight score difference towards the very end. Unfortunately, our boys lost with a score of 63-68, but it was an amazing fight. On the second day, they went against UST – the favorites to win this year’s Palarong Med, and were eliminated from the competition having lost with a score of 44-61. Long-distance shooter Martin Dizon (Class 2022) made it rain three-pointers when the ball was in his hands. The powerful offensive combination of JC Tesorero (Class 2022) and Kevin Lucas (Class 2018) tearing through their opponents’ defense with drive after drive.
The first game of UPCM in Women’s Basketball was with UST, which ended with a score of 43-57, UST being the winner. In the second match, which was against OLFU, a close game of 30-32 came up with OLFU taking the lead. Even the phenomenal skills of Bea Constantino (Class 2020) and Dulce Amor de Castro (Class 2018) were not enough to turn the tides in their favor.
Neither teams placed this year, but they definitely played some good basketball and faced strong opponents on the court, which was the goal for rookie players like Martin Dizon (Class 2022). Both teams gave 101%, and in the words of the soon-to-graduate Lucas, this year, both teams left it all on the court and played every game like it was their last. Both teams faced great adversity during the competitions, and in our eyes, their performances are triumphs in themselves.
This year’s Lawn Tennis team, who were also last year’s champions at Palarong Medisina 2017: All In, prepared for Palarong Medisina 2018: Siklab using the tennis court beside the new sports complex. Captain Kevin Sese (Class 2020) has been grateful to be in one of the only teams this year that has an easily-accessible training space with little competition for the use of it. Their team this year is predominated by LU5 and LU3 players – a good mix of the seasoned and the fresh. Despite the loss of some of the team’s strongest players following their graduation, they remain hopeful and retain that “maganda yung palo ng mga tao overall”. This year, they’ve put together doubles teams that have strong communication and can “maximize each other’s strengths, and minimize each other’s weaknesses” during play. “May chemistry dapat kami,”, says Sese, while pointing to his usual doubles partner Zeid Tungupon (Class 2020).
The women’s team managed to advance to the next part of the ladder with a win against OLFU, but they lost to UST in their next game and UERM in the loser’s bracket, effectively eliminating them from the competition. They had put up a good fight, but their victory was not in the cards this year. The men’s team, on the other hand, started out strong as they dominated their first match, defeating UST with a score of 8-0. As the number one seed, they moved straight into the semifinals and faced a formidable opponent in DLS-HSI. The team won the first set, but their opponents won the next two. This bumped our boys down into the losers bracket, and threw a significantly greater number of matches in their way to get to the finals. They regrouped after the painful loss, carefully planned their strategies, and took down every single one of their opponents, getting their rematch against DLS-HSI in the finals. It was a doubly difficult bout as their opponents were “twice to beat” for that championship win, but they still managed to defend their championship using their creativity and fresh strategies. Zeid Tungupon, the team’s chameleon, played all five matches and never skipped a beat. Newbies Cody Florido and Javi Torres (Class 2022) brought a different energy to the team, presenting new options in both pairing and strategy. The UPCM Men’s Lawn Tennis Team finished the competition as champions for the second year in a row.
This year, the UPCM Ultimate Frisbee team, Manila Disc, acquired a multitude of new players – to both the team and to the sport – from LU1 and LU3. Their focus throughout the year has been building up their fundamentals and creating strategies and plays that shape and develop their new team dynamic. However, Manila Disc is not without its superstars – in seasoned players Karel Tan (Class 2023), Marion de Luna (Class 2019), and Rey Joson (Class 2018), who were unanimously chosen as the ones to watch for Palarong Med by their teammates. Their presence on the team has been instructive and instrumental throughout the growth and training of their new players. Kristel Tiburcio (Class 2021) says the pre-competition preparations were “crunch time”, and in spite of the difficulty getting together to practice due to the lack of a nearby a venue, they were been practicing harder and more frequently than they had been for the entire year so far. The first day was a clean sweep for Manila Disc, winning 4 out of their 4 (FEU, UST, DLS-HSI, and PLM) games easily. In their match against PLM, they had an overwhelming defense and relentless offense, finishing the game with the score of 13-0.
On the second day, they faced powerhouses UERM for the semifinals and UST for finals, triumphing over the former, but losing against the latter in a long, exciting match that hit the hard cap time. There were some jaw-dropping moments in the back-and-forth plays between Rey Joson and Marion de Luna, and some killer saves by Karel Tan mixed in there to keep the thing exciting. We saw standout performances from unexpected places – in Rafa Abaya (Class 2022), whose long shots really got the disc from end to end, and Julian Buban (Class 2021), whose sprints burst through their opponents’ tight defenses. Overall, Manila Disc won first runner up and got their podium finish at second place for the fourth time in a row. Amazing job to Manila Disc on this year’s Palarong Medisina!
Track and Field
This year’s UPCM Track and Field team, led by captain Macky Camagay (Class 2020), a former UP Track and Field varsity team in his undergraduate years and the player to watch for the competition, prepared for Palarong Medisina through their semi-regular training sessions, mainly in the CCP area, for the lack of a better venue in campus. This year, their team is filled with young but experienced players -runners coming from the Running Club of UP Manila, and Intarmed students who have background in track and field. For their relay races, they focused on supporting one another and covering each other’s weaknesses with their individual strengths. Generally, the team came into the competition excited to face strong opponents in some friendly competition.
Always the earliest sport event, their original schedule was at 7AM on the first day, but was cancelled due to the fact that the officials were not able to make it to the venue until about 10AM. Their games were rescheduled to 6AM on the second day, where they competed in all of the events. We saw impressive performances from Mitch Eala (1st place in the 3km dash with a time of 13:42.23), Macky Camagay (2nd place with a time of 11.93 seconds in the Men’s 100m dash), Geneva Morales (made it past the qualifiers in Women’s 200m dash), and Ria Tan (made it past the qualifiers in the Women’s 100m dash). Congratulations to the UPCM Track and Field team for bringing home some medals and running your hearts out!
Led by the young captain Ryan Jacob Santiago (Class 2023), the UPCM Swim Team hoped to see their efforts bear fruit in this year’s Palarong Medisina 2018: Siklab. This year’s iteration of the team was filled to the brim with excitement for their competitive games, and in the words of their captain: “It’s our one and only meet of the year,” and they definitely made it count. Last year, the team took third place in the competition, and hoping to do better this year, their preparations emphasized improving each individual’s form and endurance. The dedicated team even headed out into the Rizal Memorial Complex swimming pool for training every Saturday to get ready for the competition. More than anything else, however, the team sought to see all their swimmers best themselves, complete their events, and have a cramps-free and disqualification-free competition.
Upon arriving at the Santa Rosa Sports Complex at 7AM, the team stretched and warmed up, and by around 9AM, the 4×50 men’s relay team (composed of Seth Yao swimming butterfly, Ryan Santiago swimming backstroke, Sean Sy swimming breaststroke, and Jomer Polanes swimming freestyle) was in the water for the first event. At the end of the day, the men’s team took second place, with the medley relay team winning a silver medal, and the men’s freestyle relay team (composed of Mark Teo, Carlo Virrey, Matthew Hernandez, and Seth Yao) winning a bronze medal. The women’s team, on the other hand, landed fifth place, with their medley relay team (composed of backstroker Junelle Sto. Domingo, breaststroker Marcela Rodolfo, butterflier Gelina Rose Bambalan, and freestyler Lalaine Quinan) placing fifth, and their freestyle relay team (composed of Lalaine Quinan, Alyanna Galang, Genlia Rose Bambalan, and Junelle Sto. Domingo) placing fourth. Overall, the UPCM Swimming Team ended the competition in 5th place, but most importantly, with zero disqualifications and (almost) completely cramps-free. Congratulations to the UPCM Swimming Team!
Coming from last year’s milestone for the UPCM Badminton Team, winning third place in all categories (Men’s doubles, Women’s doubles and Mixed doubles), the team was looking to push itself to greater heights this year and win more for the college. With the pressure on, team captain Pico Garcia of Class 2019 stated that he just wants the team to play Palarong Medisina 2018 like any other game, and each player to enjoy the sport.
While heavily relying on sheer individual talents last year, this year’s shuttle squad increased the intensity and frequency of their trainings. New faces such as Christian Esguerra of Class 2022 played alongside veterans Pico Garcia and Liana Lobo of Class 2019, and Jarvey de Guzman and Joyce Tiam-Lee of Class 2020. Garcia said that through the effort and dedication of their former team members, the team has grown both in number and in maturity coming into the competition.
UPCM badminton teams battled OLFU for Men’s Badminton; SLCM and EAC for Women’s Badminton, and PLM and UERM for Mixed Badminton brackets. The badminton teams breezed through the eliminations, winning each match for their bracket by a wide margin with the UERM match coming to a close 25-23. The teams, thus, qualified for the Quarterfinals where they faced stiffer competition in UST for Mixed, UPHJ for Men’s and ASMPH for Women’s. Still, UPCM prevailed and landed the teams spots for the semifinals.
The semifinals saw UPCM compete with ASMPH for Men’s and Women’s Badminton coming very close, but ultimately, falling short to qualify for the finals. The teams, nevertheless, got the chance to compete for the third place. The Women’s team gave SLCM very tight competition, leading to a 3rd set which was eventually won by SLCM in a sudden-death round when the tie still did not break beyond 21 points. On the other hand, the Men’s team also faced SLCM in an also intense game with narrow score margins but when the dust settled, UPCM bagged the spot for the 2nd runner-up for Men’s Badminton.
Mixed-Badminton saw a relatively quick game with EAC for the semifinals. The team squared with ASMPH that saw really long and suspenseful rallies between the teams. In the end, ASMPH prevailed with a 21-16 for the first set and a very close 22-20 for the second set with UPCM garnering the 1st runner-up for Mixed-Badminton.
The UPCM Table Tennis team trained for 6 hours each week for the past two months to prepare for this year’s Palarong Medisina. They did standard drills, footwork and core training to build on their basics and improve their overall athleticism aside from developing their technique. The men’s team was unable to compete this year due to logistical and scheduling issues. This year, the women’s team boasted two new seeds, Bianca Lapuz and Nicole Sacman (Class 2022) to supplement their predominantly clintern population. They were looking forward to a better overall performance, better plays, and the opportunity to settle old scores in the competition. Team captain and star player Nala de Leon (Class 2020) was cited by her teammates as the one to watch given her strong spins and fast footwork. The team was hoping to get the chance to show off the fruits of their training: improved services, shorter reaction times, more efficient footwork and consistency in receives. They won all of their matches, defeating DLS-HSI, UST, UPHJ, and PLM, but fell short against UERM in the eliminations. Still, they made it to the semifinals, but lost their first match against FEU, and then again to UERM in the battle for third. The women’s table tennis team placed 4th overall, and although there’s no trophy, there is pride and joy in our excellent players and all the effort and time that they gave to represent UPCM.
Photos courtesy of Aljohn Gonzales, Rio Llanes, Markyn Kho, UP Medicine Student Council, and APMC-SN NCR-SL.